Writing Excuses

by howard.tayler@gmail.com (Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler) · · · · 39 subscribers

Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler, and Daniel Wells discuss writing techniques in a fast-paced, 15-minute format.

For starters, let’s clear the air. Yes, the first episode of the new year is also the last episode of Writing Excuses Season 3. And yes, we’ll be getting Season 2 and Season 3 on CDs pretty soon here. Collaboration! This is one of our all-time most requested topics, and …
Tragedy. It’s just TRAGIC. Tragedy is also one of the classical forms that writers need to know how to work within. Why? Well… because the Greeks thought we should be forced to have strong emotional responses to literature. Writing Prompt: Write a delightful story about happy, cheerful anthropomorphic creatures who …
What is an Antihero? There are lots of definitions of this word, so Dan boils it down to just three: The Frodo, The Punisher, and The Talented Mister Ripley. And that third definition is the one Brandon believes to be the most correct, at least in the strict literary sense. …
This episode totally would have updated earlier if I’d only known sooner that it was ready to go. Jordo says he emailed me early this evening, but if he HAD then you’d have been listening to this by 8:00pm Sunday. So… how much of that do you believe? Is the …
Is there a disconnect? Brandon specifically introduces the episode as “World-building political correctness,” but the title here says “World-Building Gender Roles.” And then Brandon goes on to blame Howard for picking the title. There is, in fact, a disconnect. Oh the mirth! Howard was imagining a slightly wider scope for …
A Monday without Writing Excuses is kind of like a Tuesday without Writing Excuses, only far less aggravating. With Brandon once again by our side(s), we venture once more into the realm of humor: this time, specifically considering how to blend humor with decidedly unhumorous elements such as drama and …
Dan, Howard, and Jordo descended into the basement at Dragon’s Keep where members of the local NaNoWriMo chapter were attempting to bolster their word-counts for the day. We talked to them about National Novel Writing Month, and about the things that were getting them stuck. Good times! Writing Prompt: Kill …
Dan and Howard are again joined by Jake Black, who writes comics (and some other things) for a living. Jake tells us how he got into the business, and we talk about how this might be applied to other folks. But you can’t do it exactly the way he did …
Jake Black fills in for Brandon “#1 New York Times Bestselling Author” Sanderson this week, and that’s perfect because Jake writes comics and Brandon doesn’t. So mostly this is Dan holding Jake’s and my feet to the fire. We’ll talk about the business of writing comics next week. This week …
Question: Can you write a good book without a plot twist? Better question: is it a good book if your readers predicted what was coming? Best question: is a podcast about predictable prose itself predictable? No, seriously… the best question is “how can we use predictable, formulaic plotting effectively?” We …
You are going to love this episode. Seriously. Brandon throws an idea at Dan and Howard, and then we spend 15 minutes expanding on that idea as if we were going to base a story around it. You people who keep asking where we get our ideas? You’re asking the …
Larry Correia is either the guy who did everything wrong and then broke into publishing anyway, or he’s the exception who proves the rule. He self-published Monster Hunter International, and then got picked up by Baen Books. If you’re considering self-publishing, this is the podcast for you. This week’s episode …
Larry Correia, whose debut novel Monster Hunter International hit the market this summer, joins us for a discussion of plot-driven vs. character driven fiction. We start with a definition of terms and a discussion of the battlefield. Then we dive into the nuts and bolts of how to write what …
John Brown joins us again, and tells us that fiction “is all about guiding an emotional response in a reader.” We begin with a discussion of depression, which John (like many of us) had to deal with. He tells us about the paths for emotional response, and how a beginning …
John Brown rejoins us for this discussion of repetition. How do we, as writers, avoid repeating ourselves? We’re not just talking about the literal re-use of words and phrases here. We’re interested in avoiding the re-use of themes, character arcs, and plotlines. Forget the problems Howard might have coming up …
Mary is back! We still had a Mary Robinette Kowal episode from WorldCon 67, and now you have it too! We take questions from the audience, and then answer them. Here are the questions: What do you do if your characters revolt and start to take over the story? When …
John Brown, debut author of Servant of a Dark God, joins us for this discussion of the avoidance of self-insertion. In polite company we call this the “Mary Sue,” because it’s difficult to say “self-insertion” in polite company, much less with a straight face. In broader terms, what we’re covering …
We won a Parsec Award at Dragon*Con, and it’s a darn good thing we weren’t there in person to give an acceptance speech. Otherwise this podcast might have happened live, in front of hundreds of people with sharp and/or heavy things in their pockets.
Mary Robinette Kowal joins us again, live at WorldCon 67 in Montreal! This time we fell back on that tried-and-true “Questions from the Audience” format, so the topic is pretty much what the audience asks for on the fly. If the questions were all over the map, our answers require …
Aside from being a delightful author and a Campbell award winner, Mary Robinette Kowal is a professional puppeteer. She joined us at WorldCon 67 in Montreal, and totally schooled us in front of a live audience. I mean it. TOTALLY SCHOOLED. If you want to learn something new about writing, …